Is the world really prepared to resist the effects of coronavirus on kids?
by Archana Rao D,
March 24, 2020
“Only older people run the risk of coronavirus infection” – It is probably one of the most common myths about coronavirus disease that has been circulating on the internet these days.
Now, before you rule out the possibility of the virus infecting children, know that contrary to popular belief, children are greatly susceptible to get infected by the COVID-19. As per reports, among the first 70,000 coronavirus victims in China, around 2.1% of the patients were below the age of 19.
As the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 390,000 globally, medical experts are still working on finding an effective coronavirus vaccine to fight the infection. Meanwhile, to combat the spread, people are relying on the practice of social distancing as recommended by numerous health experts.
Keeping all these in mind, it is all but natural for parents to worry about the well-being of their children. Nevertheless, as per global healthcare bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO), one can prevent the coronavirus by following a few precautionary measures.
Want to know more about the coronavirus disease and how to beat it? Read along.
What are the COVID-19 symptoms?
The following are the commonly noticed coronavirus disease symptoms –
Difficulty in breathing
Usually, children tend to show mild symptoms or no symptoms at all when infected with the new coronavirus. Notably, the mild symptoms resemble the flu, whereas the severe ones can become an acute cause of discomfort. If these coronavirus symptoms persist, you should seek medical attention at once and follow their recommendations strictly.
Coronavirus Prevention Tips
The coronavirus disease is contagious and spreads when one comes in close contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets. This makes it mandatory for everyone to follow the required coronavirus prevention measures to contain its spread. By following these preventive measures, you might be able to protect your children and yourself against COVID-19 infection –
Teach them how to wash hands properly with soap and water. Show them the hand washing steps recommended by the health experts to ensure they eliminate the virus from their hands effectively. Meanwhile, follow the same regime and wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds every time, as children tend to live by examples.
Encourage your child to use a sanitiser if they do not find washing hands very feasible. However, note that washing hands with soap is more effective against the coronavirus infection. Also, hand sanitizers with a minimum of 80% of alcohol content are deemed more effective against the virus.
Ask your child to clip their nails short for ensuring hygiene and of minimising the risk of harbouring virus in them.
Teach your kids to cover their nose and mouth properly while coughing or sneezing. Tell them to use a tissue paper for the same purpose. Make sure that your kid disposes of the tissue paper into the trash can immediately after using it.
Children tend to touch their nose, eyes and mouth frequently. Medical experts strictly recommend that to contain the spread and the risk of infection, one must refrain from touching those body parts. Hence, make sure to caution kids against this behaviour.
Keep your kids away from those who are suffering from common cold or are running a fever. Similarly, if your child is showing flu-like symptoms, make sure to keep them away from their grandparents.
Encourage your child to wash fruits properly before eating them. Similarly, make it a point to thoroughly cook meat and eggs properly before eating them.
Tell your kids to put on a mask if they show flu-like symptoms. Additionally, tell other family members who are likely to come in close with contact with your child to put on a mask at the same time.
Other than these, make sure that you disinfect surfaces, especially the ones touched most frequently. Additionally, disinfect toys and stationery that your child frequently touches to eliminate the risk of coronavirus infection significantly.
As per medical experts, COVID-19 may affect those with pre-existing medical conditions and low immunity more severely. Hence, parents of children who are suffering from any kind of medical complication must be extra careful during this situation. Consequently, they should look for the most effective ways of protecting their children.
How to Take Care of Kids with Medical Conditions?
Though it is still unclear how the new coronavirus affects children and to what extent, parents need to follow the preventive measures throughout. Especially, children with medical conditions need to be extra cautious during this period.
For instance, here’s how you can protect your children against the infection –
Currently, there is no solid evidence that diabetic children suffer more when compared to other coronavirus victims. However, caution must be taken to monitor diabetes at all times to lower the impending risk.
If your kid has asthma, they may be more susceptible to severe symptoms or show respiratory discomfort. As a precautionary measure, make a note of their symptoms and if required, get your child medically evaluated.
It being said, try to improve both your child’s and your immunity to be better prepared against the coronavirus disease. Likewise, a long period of confinement is likely to cause mental distress among children. This is why you should endeavour to care for the mental well-being of your child as well.
Mental Health Tips for Children and Adolescent
In case, your child is showing erratic sleep pattern and lacks appetite, it may indicate that they are overwhelmed with everything that is going around due to COVID-19.
It is mainly because children and adolescents are more prone to feel isolated, anxious and disappointed when compared to adults. UNICEF suggests these following tips to protect children against mental distress –
Help your child to rationalise their fears by talking to them and asking about their feelings. It will give them a sense of security and will also help them calm their fears.
Try to divert your child’s attention to more positive or productive things. For instance, encourage them to watch movies, study, read books or engage in their favourite hobbies.
Talking to likeminded people proves to be an effective way of relieving stress. Allow your children to communicate with their friends through social media or telephone. However, if your child is a pre-teen, make sure to limit their access to social media and news mediums which are likely to cause more anxiety.
Inspire them to inculcate a new hobby or learn something new during the confinement. Partake in their hobby to spend quality time with your child. Teach them a new trick or a life skill, help them with their homework or simply share stories with them as a bonding exercise.
Keep them informed. Educate your child about COVID-19 and tell them how to stay protected against the coronavirus disease.
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